Category Archives: Chinese Medicine

Creativity for the Heart

My Chinese medicine mentor Dr. Robert Johns (author of “The Art of Acupuncture Techniques“) recommends his patients to do soft and creative activities with their hands, especially for those with heart conditions or high levels of stress and too much time spent in their heads, such as desk jobs or just general over-thinking.  There is an additional requirement that the activity is something of their own choice and that they enjoy, not one born out of a sense of “should”.  Bread making, ceramics, brush painting, knitting, Chinese calligraphy…  the choices are vast.

Using our hands creativity can help pull us out of our busy minds and into our bodies.  Creativity can also help create the calm expansiveness needed to free the mind in order to dream.  From a Chinese medical perspective, using the finger tips creatively and softly engages the highly-vascularized and innervated Jing 井 Well points near the finger tips (points used to revive consciousness).  It calms the Shen 神 (spirit, consciousness).
jing well pts & arteries of the hand and forearm
(click on image for larger view)
The steady gradual shift of earlier nightfalls became suddenly more apparent around the Autumn equinox two weeks ago.  During this time of year I often feel a rekindled inspiration to craft – to pick up an old familiar (such as knitting) or to make a new friend (such as doll making).  The crafting inspiration is kindled in part by the desire to create a gift especially for someone, and partly kindled by the desire to spend fluid time awakening to textures of yarn, fabric, wool, paper, watching form emerge from raw materials and ideas.
An article in Time Magazine recently reported, “Increasingly, brain research is showing that in the case of creative people, this mortal cause-and-effect pays powerful dividends — that it’s not just the luck of living a long life that allows some people to leave behind such robust bodies of work but that the act of doing creative work is what helps add those extra years. And that’s something that can be available to everybody.”
So pick up an old creative habit or discover a new one!


Filed under Chinese Medicine, Crafts & Creativity, Lifestyle

Why Fevers are Your Friend

Health and medical journalists are not presently providing the public with what might be the most important health advice that they should be given during the flu season:   people with the flu should avoid taking fever-reducing drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen (aka TylenolTM), except in rare situations

…fever is a vital defense of the body in its efforts to fight infection.  A fever enables the body to increase its production of interferon, an important antiviral substance that is critical for fighting infection.  Fever also increases white blood cell mobility and activity, which are instrumental factors in fighting infection.
(There are, of course, some exceptions … seek medical care if one’s fever is above 104 degrees for over six hours or in any fever in an infant under four months of age.)
The above exceprt is from the article “Epidemic Of Fever Phobia: The Facts On Why Fever Is Your Friend” by Dana Ullman, pubished in the Huffington Post Sep 30, 2009.  Read the whole article here.
On the subject of Tylenol, newly publicized research shows that there is significant overdose risk.  And studies show that children who take Tylenol even as seldomly as once a month have significantly increased risk of asthma.  (CNN article from 2010 states double the risk  whereas The Healthy Home Economist in Sept 2013 states a 540% increased risk for once a month takers.

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Filed under Chinese Medicine, Health, Parenting & Child Development, Seasons & Rhythm

Cycles, Rhythm & Flow

A simplified view of Eastern and Western thought may compare the holistic and reductionist ways of viewing health, cosmology, microbiology and everything in between.  While a Western Medical specialist examines a biopsy or a blood test, a snapshot in time and space, to determine the  health of an individual, a Chinese Medical practitioner views the whole person including organs and systems, emotional and physical states, lifestyle in the days and years preceedeing, even the patient’s experience in-utero and at birth.  A good doctor in either tradition is like a detective, searching for clues that uncover the causes of how we got where we are.

Each having their own merit, to discard entierely or blindly elevate one over the other would be to embrace one side of the dualistic thinking that, as Siddhartha Gautama once said, is the root of suffering.  Since the reductionist Western view gets ample coverage, this blog will explore the pattern-oriented approach that looks for clues in cycles, rhythm and flow to understand how we got here and where we are headed.

This method of holistic and pattern-oriented seeing can open us to the freedom that exists within the confines of our own experience.  It is a simple act with broad and deep potential.

Wishing you a joyful and liberating  journey.




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Filed under Chinese Medicine, Health, Lifestyle